Not too long ago, I wrote an article about cross-promoting on social media to save time and gain traction. After checking out Blog2Social, I think this tool would be extremely helpful in helping you cross-promote.
Blog2Social is a WordPress plugin. You may already use tools such as HootSuite or IFTTT, but Blog2Social further automates the process by interacting with your WordPress blog to automatically cross promote for you in the background.
Customized Posts by Platform
There are numerous plugins out there that will automate social media posting for you. Some are great and some are awful. Blog2Social is one of the more adaptive and interesting plugins out there. One of the features I really like about Blog2Social is that the same post isn't pushed out to every social media network but is customized to better suit that platform.
Melanie Tamble, Founder and CEO of Blog2Social, took the time to talk to us about this useful plugin and what it can do for blog owners. Tamble shared:
The networks provide specific features for promoting your posts and the communities react very differently to specific posting formats. While #hashtags work fine for Twitter and Instagram, they have proven to be less effective for Facebook or LinkedIn. Facebook users prefer short comments, while Google+ users engage much better with longer texts. By sending out the same message to all of your networks, you miss opportunities for outreach and engagement with your audience. Poorly formatted posts get a lower ranking and less visibility.
Plugin Created by Someone in the Trenches
Blog2Social was born out of the promotional needs of the CEO. Tamble said:
We manage five corporate blogs and a lot of social networks, personal profiles. Then, there are our business pages, focus pages, and groups on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, XING, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and others such as Tumblr, Medium, Torial, Diigo and Delicious.
Tamble describes the process of updating all that content as “tedious” work that took up a lot of time. Since they wanted to tailor their posts for specific features and policies of each network, the automation software available simply wouldn't meet their needs. “We needed a tool to help us do all this with a minimum amount of work but optimum output.”
Tamble's company was in a good position to go ahead and create this type of plugin. The company has been developing and providing online marketing tools and services for more than 16 years. They had already developed an online service called CM-Gateway that was for cross-posting news, links, images and documents to social media.
“The idea for Blog2Social came as an obvious concept. It was created to help us and to help other bloggers to manage the social media management for their blogs much faster and easier.”
Blog2Social Takes Things a Step Further
Tamble's goal with Blog2Social was to combine the benefits of individual sharing with the benefits of social media automation. With that in mind, Tamble describes the process of creating Blog2Social as one where they “put a lot of brains and research to individually auto-format posts with a format that works best for each network.”
Some of the features of Blog2Social plugin include:
Auto-formats social media postings not only with the maximum number of characters available for each network, but also with the ideal length of texts and comments. These lengths are based on statistics and experience.
Option to edit any pre-filled posting text and comment individually. You may add personal comments, hashtags, or handles as appropriate for various networks and communities.
Provides a one-page preview for all your selected networks, with auto-formatted and pre-filled text fields. You can edit the text in one easy workflow process for all your selected networks, profiles, pages and groups.
Best time scheduler suggestions will give you ideas on the best time to schedule your posts on specific social media networks. This is all based on research and statistical data. Can also schedule a post for multiple times.
Of course, as with other automated social media plugins, you can simply set the program to automatically post when you publish something new. You just have a lot of other options available to you with Blog2Social should you wish to use them.
Right Platform at the Right Time
This plugin is built for the small to mid-sized business owner. The typical blogger is a one or two-man (or woman) operation. That means that the blogger has to wear many hats, including a marketing hat.
With Blog2Social, that hat becomes less cumbersome as the software saves a lot of time. Tramble points out that it is important to not only post on the right networks, but to post the right type of content at the right time.
The right timing of your post can be vital for receiving more attention from your audience. Every network has its own rush hours for activity and engagement. Whenever you publish a post, only a fraction of your followers will actually see your post. Posts receive more attention when your followers are online.
There are various different time slots for each network that will make it more likely for your post to grab the attention of those on at a given time. As an example, Tramble explains that you can reach Twitter followers best before and after work, whereas it is more likely to meet Facebook and Instagram fans in the afternoon and evening.
“I personally always use the “best time scheduler” and then edit the times on network level if necessary. For me this is the most convenient option. Once you use it, you never want to miss it.”
She points out that sharing manually on each network and meeting these requirements will keep you busy around the clock.
“Blog2Social was specially designed to make the task of cross-promoting our blog posts much faster and easier. It combines the benefits of individual sharing with the benefits of automatic cross-posting and auto-scheduling.”
Pushing Old Content
One of the most interesting features of Blog2Social for me was the ability to schedule a post multiple times. Let's say you post about a new article on Facebook at 6 PM on Tuesday. Not every follower is going to be on Facebook at that time. However, if you post again the next afternoon, you may catch others who weren't on the first time you posted.
In the same way, you can utilize the tool to push old content and keep it active.
As mentioned before, whenever you post on your networks, only a fraction of your followers will actually see your post. So it might be a good idea to share your post more than once. But there are network specific practices on how often to share your post, as well as on when to share and how to share.
On Twitter you might share your post initially up to 4 times a day if you mix it with other posts, while posting more than once on Facebook might annoy your fans. With Blog2Social you can plan re-sharing your posts on network-level, so that you can meet each network. For example, you can define specific sets of networks
Inside Tips for SM Promotions
In addition to running a company, Melanie Tramble is also a food blogger in her own right. I had asked her to give me an example of how Blog2Social would work for me if I posted, say, a recipe for banana bread. In addition to letting us in on the fact that she adores banana bread, Melanie Tramble had this to say:
Blog2Social will automatically turn your recipe post into the optimal format for each network and automatically resize your banana bread images so that they fit the networks' requirements.
She pointed out that the one-page-preview would provide an overview of all postings for selected social networks, profiles, pages and groups I might want to share my post to.
The process would be simple, because all editing fields will be pre-filled with an excerpt of my recipe post in the appropriate number of characters that works best for each social network.
You can edit the text or add personal comments. For example, ask your foodie community to try your recipe and comment on your blog. You can add more hashtags to make your recipe easier to find by other recipe blogs and food bloggers. You can add or change anything you find appropriate to meet your best practice for your foodie communities. It’s just one easy step for all your networks and communities.
She went on to explain that if I selected the “best time scheduler”, a suggested time would be displayed below any networks preview for the next best time slot based on the best time settings. I could select my own custom time settings or edit the time. I would also choose whether to make the postings recurrent or even to post immediately.
And there are other things I could do with my recipe to get even more outreach:
“If you have multiple mouth watering images for your recipe, you can re-share your post by choosing a different image each time. That gives you more opportunities to re-share your post on different days and times and give them another outfit each time.”
“You can also easily select or deselect and save any network of your choice for any specific sharing purpose. For example, if you initially share your post with your featured image to all of your networks and then re-share it with different images to Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram only.”
There seems to be a lot of flexibility with this program so that users can customize it to meet their social media needs.
16 SMM Insider Tips by Melanie Tamble
Tamble offered the following “insider” tips that will give you some insight into how she utilizes Blog2Social for her own sites and the scope of things you can do with the plugin. These are hacks she personally has found helpful. You can try them and see which ones work or you.
Twitter – She adds #hashtags to keywords. She also adds @handles if she wants to refer to a specific Twitter account for a post.
Facebook Profile – She adds a personal comment to introduce her post. She asks questions or asks people to comment on her post. This encourages engagement.
Facebook Page – “I tune my comment slightly for my business page to give it a more formal touch. And I schedule it for a different time (the Best Time Scheduler does that automatically).”
Google Profile – Tamble adds a slightly longer introduction for her post. Longer comments work better on Google. She also adds #hashtags for keywords on Google+.
Google Page – She takes the same text as she used for her profile, but she schedules is at a different time.
Google Group – Again, she uses that same text but will post to different groups on different days to break it up a bit.
LinkedIn Profile – She grabs the same text she used on her Facebook page for use on her LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn Page or Focus Page – For this, Tamble grabs the same text she used on her Google page.
Instagram – “I sometimes add call comments or call-for-shares, if appropriate, and check the #hashtags. Blog2Social turns the tags of your post automatically into #hashtags.”
Pinterest – For Pinterest, Melanie Tamble just checks the pre-filled text and #hashtags, but typically goes with what is automatically placed in those fields.
Flickr – Again, she just checks those pre-filled columns. She adds, “You may also add your complete post as an image description.”
Medium – “I re-publish my post as it is, or I make minor changes to the headline and introduction. I always schedule the post with a 3-5 day delay to my original post in order to let the search engines index my original text first.”
Tumblr – She uses the same technique as she lists above for Medium. She delays to allow the original post to become indexed in search engines first.
Torial – This is another platform where she uses that same technique as she used on Medium and Tumblr.
Diigo – She doesn't make any changes to this field. Tamble simply publishes the post and link as is.
Delicious – Tamble uses the same technique as she used for Diigo. This is a quick check of a box without any further input needed from her.
What's This Going to Cost Me?
This all sounds like a dream come true, but you may be wondering what Blog2Social is going to cost you. The costs are actually quite reasonable compared to some of the competitors out there. For example, let's take a look at their best selling package is the Pro package, which comes with a lot of features, such as 5 users per license, 5 accounts per network, and premium support.
This package runs 99 Euros a year ($99€), which is about $104 USD. Of course, the amount will vary depending upon current exchange rates, but let's just argue it stays right around $100/year. As a comparison, I paid LinksAlpha $8/month for far fewer features and without the ability to separate out accounts.
Rate-wise, Blog2Social is very comparable to other software, but offers many more options. In fact, after learning more about this software for my interview, I've decided to switch to Blog2Social for 2017. I believe it will save me time and effort in my promotions. And, no, Blog2Social is in no way paying me to say that. This is my unbiased opinion after studying what they have to offer.
The plugin also has a free version if you are on a tight budget. You will lose a few features, such as the ability to add additional users and best-time scheduling. Tamble states:
Many blogs are perfectly happy with the free license, which also includes the one-page-preview editor for easy customizing your social media posts with individual comments, hashtags and handles.
You can connect and cross-post to your personal social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, XING, Tumblr, Medium, Torial, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Diigo, Delicious. You can also re-share your old posts any time you wish to re-share your evergreen content or share an update of your post on your social media accounts.
Are you as intrigued with Blog2Social as I am? If you run a WordPress blog and are interested in trying it out, you can download the free version using the link below. If you want upgraded features, you can easily upgrade at any time for as low as $49, depending upon which features and how many user accounts you need.
A very special thank you to Melanie Tamble for taking the time to share the ins and outs of her software with WHSR. She was open and fully answered all the questions I had about the software. My hope is that this software will free up your time so that you can focus on producing more fabulous content and toward other business efforts.
About Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.